SAN DIEGO – U.S. Naval service has taken W.T. White High School graduate Enrique Contereras to California, where the airman finds values learned in Dallas prove as valuable as ever.
“My parents always told me to work hard and be trustworthy,” Contereras said. “I strive to be an honorable man with great character.”
Contereras graduated high school in 2017 and joined the Navy two years ago.
“I joined the Navy as the first in my family to do so,” said Contereras. “I’m the first person in my family to attend college and serve my country, so everyone is extremely proud.”
Now an aviation structural mechanic, he serves at the Naval Air Station North Island with a squadron that flies the newest and most technologically-advanced helicopters.
Contereras serves with the “Battlecats” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 73), a San Diego-based squadron that operates the Navy’s next generation of submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk. Each aircraft is nearly 65 feet long, may weigh up to 23,500 lbs. (max gross), and can travel over 120 miles per hour for almost 320 miles on a tank of gas.
My parents always told me to work hard and be trustworthy. I strive to be an honorable man with great character.Enrique Contereras
Navy officials describe the MH-60R as the most capable multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. It flies various missions, including hunting and tracking enemy submarines, attacking enemy ships, search and rescue, drug interdiction, delivering supplies, and supporting the Navy’s special operations forces.
With more than 90% of all trade traveling by sea and 95% of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States are directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
“Being in the Navy is about constantly learning,” Contereras said. “Working on aircraft has pushed me to focus and give my all because what we do is critical to the Navy mission.
“We all have to contribute to this country, so I’m just doing my part.”
Bryan Niegel is a mass communication specialist, first Class, with the Navy Office of Community Outreach.